Even though it was raining in Penticton on Saturday morning, April 30, Subrina Monteith and Michael Magnusson still knew the community would come out and celebrate the work of each and every volunteer in the South Okanagan.
The leaders of the South Okanagan-Similkameen (SOS) Volunteer Centre were among the hundreds at Gyro Park for a special pancake breakfast in support of those who dedicate their time to local events and organizations across the region.
“This was just an idea that came forward so we can thank the volunteers in our community for everything they give,” Monteith said.
There are close to 1,000 registered volunteers in the South Okanagan, according to the recently appointed leaders of the organization. Saturday, though, wasn’t just a day to celebrate the work so many in the community do — it was also an opportunity to reflect on the importance of volunteerism.
“People also volunteer for one-off events, whether it’s a natural disaster event or festival,” Magnusson said.
“In reality, I would gauge that the (registered volunteer) number is probably triple that, as a result.”
Food, interactive activities and prize giveaways headlined Saturday’s outdoor event, which both Magnusson and Monteith hope will become a yearly gathering in the Peach City.
“Knowing that something as simple as giving eight hours can make a difference in our community,” Magnusson said. “Just seeing all of these wonderful people that give their time volunteer is just really inspiring.”
Over 200 people registered to attend the event ahead of time, said Monteith, who was named as the SOS Volunteer Centre’s executive director on Jan. 27.
Magnusson, meanwhile, was named the organization’s general manager on the same day. Since then, the pair have stood before Penticton city council to discuss the importance of volunteerism in the community, prompting mayor John Vassilaki to declare April 24 to 30 “National Volunteer Week in Penticton.”
Those at Gyro Park on Saturday were treated to pancakes and coffee until 11 a.m.
And if there’s anything that Magnusson and Monteith have learned since taking the new leadership roles at the SOS centre, it’s that volunteerism in the region is alive and well.
“We know that in the South Okanagan, people are very giving of their time.”